Archive for April, 2010



16
Apr
10

The Art of Braising


[Eran Elhalal is a food consultant, chef extraordinaire (about to become a restaurateur). He is also the resident Chef at the Israeli Wine Lovers Club where his delectable creations, cheese and fruit selections greatly enhance the tasting experience. CS]

More than once, have I listened to my friends complain about a failed attempt at braising short ribs or Lamb Shanks and worst of all, after spending hours preparing,ended up with a dry/stringy/pale/tough piece of meat and finding all that right before the guests arrive.

So, from today onwards, those tales of woe, the agony will end.

Braising is a wonderful way of utilizing the less expensive tougher cuts of meat that usually are not fit for dry cooking methods like brisket, and chuck or cuts that would require a long slow roast like leg of Lamb,lamb shanks and Beef Short ribs . Moreover a braise can be made ahead of time in large quantities , making it a great solution for a big family. In fact, a braise is great the day it’s made, but it is FANTASTIC the next couple of days.

What we sometimes call tough cuts of meat are actually tougher due to the fact that they come from high mobility muscles. To give a simple example – cows stand and graze most of the day, hence their legs, chest and neck muscles are very strong. Strong=Tough!

And now, I’ll take you step by step through the braising process…

Braised Beef Short Ribs

Ingredients

6 Servings

2 1/2 Lbs short ribs /3-4 Lbs if on the bone. Have your butcher cut the meat to 3-4 incl long pieces,1 1/2 -2 inches wide.
1-1/2 cups dry red wine Ingredients
1 cup Apple cider
2 Tbsp tomato paste
1 Lb small red potatoes.If you find large ones,quarter them lengthwise.
2 carrots cut oblique
1 large parsnip sliced thick
2 large onions sliced 3/4 inch thick
2 ribs celery rough chopped
2-3 sprigs parsley
1 bay leaf
12 black pepper corns
2 Tbsp dark molasses
¼ Tsp smoked paprika
salt to taste
flour for dredging

Method

1. Turn oven to 450F and place a heat proof pan or low edged pot inside. (Earthenware or Pyrex are great for this)

2. Pat the meat dry, season well then dredge in flour. Heat a cast iron skillet or large heavy stew pot. Add 2 Tbsp oil and sear well on all sides. Remove and set aside.
3.
In the same skillet brown the vegetables and remove.
4.
Drain excess fat carefully place the vegetables in the hot Pyrex pan,add tomato paste and mix well with a wooden spoon .We want to coat the vegetables evenly and brown.
5.
Deglaze with wine, then add cider, molasses herbs and spices. Leave 6-8 minutes in the oven so the liquid starts to reduce.

6. Add the meat , taste , adjust seasoning then cover tightly and place in oven.
7. Lower the heat to 275F and braise for approx 5 hours. Check to see meat is very tender. Alternatively you can set the oven to 150F-160F and braise overnight.
8. Cool well in the pan. the best way is to make an ice-water bath in a clean sink or larger pan. Then, lift away excess fat.
9. Remove meat potatoes and carrots gently,discrad of the rest . Portion the meat when cold.( This is important ! ) Reheat the cooking liquid and strain well through a fine sieve.
10. Reduce the liquid until a smooth and thick sauce consistency is achieved. Add the meat and vegetables. Simmer gently in the clear shiny sauce.


(The above photos were taken by Eran Elhalal)

For a wine pairing I suggest a dry full bodied red wine. A big red, to cut through all the wonderful gelatin in the ribs. Try Tzora Judean Hills 2008 or Tabor Mes’ha Shiraz/Merlot/Cabernet Sauvignon 2005

Enjoy!!

Eran Elhalal

))–oOooOooOo–((


[I will add two personal favorites to Eran's recommendations:

Château Pontet-Canet Paulliac 2002. A solid wine with berry, currant and mineral character. Full-bodied, with silky tannins and a long finish. Racy. On March 31 2005 the Wine Spectator awarded it 92 points, as one of the top French wines of its vintage year.

Yatir Forest 2004. This wine from grapes grown in the Judean Hills is a blend of 80% Cabernet Sauvignon, 14% Merlot and 6% Shiraz. It's aged for 18 months in small French oak barrels. It has a purple color with a strong bouquet of forest fruits, red currant, blackberry and a hint of vanilla. A full bodied wine with velvety tannins. Tom Stevenson (author of the 2007 Sotheby's Wine Encyclopedia), described  the Yatir Forest 2004 as "the classiest Israeli wine I ever tasted." CS.]

ALSO FROM ERAN’S KITCHEN:

Passover Almond-Pistaccio Cake

15
Apr
10

Beyond Milk and Honey: Israeli Street Foods


Lévana Kirschenbaum, from levanacooks.com is presenting another delicious “dinner and a show” this coming Monday, as a fitting end to Israel’s independence Day. As Levana’s site tells it:

BEYOND MILK AND HONEY: ISRAELI STREET FOODS GLUTEN FREE

Let’s celebrate the end of Israeli Independence Day together, simply and in style, and with loads of Sephardi Ta’am! Who knew Israeli salad could be so much more distinguished than the bland cucumber-onion-and-tomato hash that arrive with every falafel order? And yes, you can find gluten-free pita!

Spicy bean soup; Chraimi fish; minted lamb kebobs; spicy eggplant salad; hummus-tehina; Israeli salad; makrod (date almond pastries)

What? You haven’t heard about Lévana’s cooking demos before? Haven’t you missed the legendary Lévana’s Restaurant? Now you can again enjoy her food while learning some of her cooking secrets! Her food is naturally delicious. As her site explains it:

Our new cooking class demo schedule is chock-full of exciting, fun, and super-natural menus! See how easy it is to prepare delicious nutritious meals within a reasonable budget. Enjoy learning practical shortcuts to gourmet cooking. Impress your friends with your culinary skills, exerting much less effort while doing the real thing than you previously have while settling for mediocre store bought stuff! It’s dinner and a show! Once you try it, you will return repeatedly, just as the rest of the big Lévana Cooking Demo extended family does!

Gluten-Free: While I find it totally unnecessary (and frankly a little silly) to put the whole nation on a gluten-free diet, I think it is very useful to try whenever possible to offer gluten-free options to our celiac friends: You will be mighty pleased to see I have done just that, without even going out of my way!

Whole grains, seasonings and natural sweeteners: This health nut cooks only with whole grains and natural unprocessed sweeteners, experimenting with the whole gamut. As a result all the dishes I demonstrate are natural, much lower in gluten, and much leaner than their “white” and commercial counterparts; needless to say, they are also much lower in sodium as well.

International flavors: Around the world of seasonings and cooking techniques without even going through security, so come hungry, keep your shoes on and enjoy!

~Lévana

CLASS INFO

All cooking demos are from 7 to 9 pm at Lincoln Square Synagogue.
200 Amsterdam Avenue @69th Street. 2nd Floor

Class is followed by dinner and book signing so come hungry!

Come watch Lévana as she demonstrates, step-by-step, just how easy it can be to prepare a nutritious gourmet meal. Lévana takes her students through the creation of an entire memorable meal and serves it at the end of class for all to enjoy. She shares many stories, preparation tips, kitchen tools and exotic ingredient sources. You will not be getting your hands dirty, but the classes are definitely interactive!

Each student receives a full recipe booklet detailing each dish. When you attend Lévana’s class, you get so much more than just recipes. You’ll get the full benefit of Lévana’s experience and recipe development. Unlike a recipe in a cookbook, you will have seen the finished product and tasted each dish before you even consider making it yourself.

Class Fees:
$45 / class
$25 — attending for dinner only
$35 — child class fee (ages 12 and under)

$10 off — when you bring a new friend to class (you will get your refund in class!)

I hope to meet you there!

Mention The Kosher Scene and you’ll get a
$10 discount on your class fee!

CS

13
Apr
10

Israeli Food Blogs – Part 3


Finally I found a recipe for a pareve potato bread. I always wanted to taste potato bread!

From Israeli Kitchen:

The recipe for this delicious, light bread came from  Elizabeth David’s English Bread and Yeast Cookery. Browsing through that book is a pleasure. I start reading for fun, absorbed in food history, almost hearing Ms. David’s distinctive, elegantly British voice, and then hit the recipes. Oh, those crumpets and muffins, those brioches and yeast buns!

Every time I go through it, another recipe catches my eye. This time, it was potato bread. Ms. David took old recipes and adjusted them to her modern English kitchen. Here in Israel, I took this recipe and did the same.

One of the adjustments I made was to keep this loaf pareve (containing neither meat nor milk). Ms. David suggests using a mixture of warm milk and water for the liquid. Note: there is no fat nor commercial sugar in this bread.

Potato Bread

1 large loaf

Ingredients

White flour: 450 grm or 3 1/2 cups

Salt: 20 grm. or 2 tsp.

Warm, dry, mashed and sieved potato: 120 grm or 1/2 cup, firmly packed. One medium-sized potato should do it.

Yeast from fresh cube: 15 grm. or 1 Tblsp.

Water, warm: 280 grm. or 1 cup plus a little less than 1/2 cup

Method:

1. Boil the potato, in its skin, till it’s quite soft, but not disintegrating.

2. While the potato is cooking, put the yeast in a small bowl with the warm water. Allow it to dissolve.

3. Measure 3 cups of flour into a bowl and add the salt to it.

4. When the potato is done, drain it and bring the cooking pot back to the stove, shaking it over the flame to dry it out well. Remove the potato to a dish and let it cool just enough to handle. I didn’t peel my potato, but if you want to, go ahead. Mash it and force it through a sieve to eliminate lumps in the dough.

5. Rub the sieved potato through the flour as if it were fat for a pie crust, till the potato is “thoroughly amalgamated.”

6. Make a well in the center of the potatoey flour and pour the yeasty water in. With a spoon, throw flour from the sides over the liquid and mix it in.

7. Keep stirring and mixing. You will get a loose, sloppy dough. Don’t let that worry you, just cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let it rise. Between 2 and 3 hours later, it will look like this:

8. Knock it back and sprinkle in, a little at a time, another 1/2 cup of flour. Lightly knead, or fold and stretch the dough till it’s a cohesive mass. Cover the dough with a damp towel and let it rest for 15 minutes. Both of these parts are important: you let the dough rest to absorb the new quantity of flour, and the damp towel is there to keep the top crust a little moisturized lest you get a crust too hard to cut.

Preheat the oven to 425° F 225°  C.

9. While the oven is heating, shape the dough into a loaf. You can place it into a loaf tin or leave it free-form. What I did was shape the loaf on a floured sheet of baking paper and roll the paper back and forth a few times under it. The normally bottom, seam side stayed up on purpose to let the loaf open along the seam – instead of slashing the loaf on the top side.  Let the loaf rise till light – again, covered with a damp towel – another 20 minutes or so.

10. Spritz, or brush the loaf with water.

11. Bake it for 45 minutes.

Cool on a rack. Wait till the bread is entirely cool before slicing into it. In fact, it’s better the next day. Good to eat plain or toasted; good for sandwiches; good for croutons. Just darned good bread.

[Photo by Mimi from www.israelikitchen.com].

The taste was super delicious, the aroma as it was baking and as it come out of the oven… ahhh… The above quoted blog is further proof you need not be a professionally trained chef, with years of experience, to create delectable food!

CS

13
Apr
10

Israeli Food Blogs – Part 2


Over the years I’ve tasted many variations of tcholent (tchulent if you are of chassidische background), some tasted superb even if they were sometimes exotic. Baroness Tapuzina – a food blog I read voraciously – offers a Sephardic variation on the theme. Like Food Bridge, this one also offers a small glimpse into the life and personality of its author.

[All photos in this post are the property of Baroness Tapuzina.]

Israeli Hamin, North African Shahina and Dafina, Iraqi Tabit, Yemenite Taris, Hungarian Solet, Kurdish Matfunia, Ladino Haminado, German Shalet and Eastern European Cholent or Chulent are all words for a Shabbat slow-cooked meal that has been made since at least the 12th century and possibly as far back as ancient Egypt in many households except my own. Whatever you choose to call it, hamin originates from the ban on lighting a fire or cooking during Shabbat, since these are considered to be forbidden forms of work. However, it’s permitted to start something cooking before Shabbat starts, so provided the heat is kept low enough, it’s possible to start cooking the hamin on Friday afternoon and have a nice tender slow-cooked meal for lunch on Saturday.

I had never heard of this dish until I moved to Israel. I remember my grandmother telling me how she and my great-grandmother would make challot at home and take them to the village baker to bake on Friday morning, but she never mentioned making this stew and my great-grandmother, who died when I was 19 years old, never made it for Shabbat, so I have to assume that this dish was as unfamiliar to my family as was gefilte fish.

Growing up in the Deep South, baked beans, pinto beans, and blackeyed peas were all readily available, but not a very popular staple in my house. My mother loved all of these, but I always thought they were disgusting. So when I saw cholent for the first time, it reminded me of refried beans or baked beans, two dishes that I really disliked. I tried it once at the house of one of my relatives in Israel, but I couldn’t bring myself to eat it again. However, one day I was discussing my dislike of cholent with Mimi of Israeli Kitchen and she told me that there are many different types of cholent, some without beans, that I should try.

I started doing some research and found that there are Sephardic versions that use chickpeas, bulgar, rice, and even couscous instead of the European versions that use white beans (also called navy beans) or barley, like the ones used in cassoulet. The Ashkenazi ones used beef, goose, and duck while the Sephardic ones used beef, lamb and chicken. This dish is supposed to be a complete main course in one pot, so it also can contain stuffed goose necks, chicken necks or stomach.  If you are Ashkenazi the stuffing is likely to be some variation of flour, bread crumbs, chicken, goose or duck fat and potatoes; if you are Sephardi, it is more likely to be minced meat and rice flavored with spices such as cinnamon, cardamon and allspice.

The hamin may also may contain dumplings. Kurdish Jews make a cracked wheat and semolina dumpling that is stuffed with minced beef or lamb; Moroccan Jews serve a large fragrant dumpling made with a mixture of ground nuts, minced lamb, mince beef and bread crumbs, flavoured with sugar, black pepper, mace, ginger, cinnamon and nutmeg.

For my virgin hamin, I found an interesting recipe from the master chef of cholent, Sherry Ansky, a food writer who is passionate about this slow-cooked dish, so much so, that she devoted an entire book to the subject, punctuated by stories from her own life about the role different types of hamin and cholent had played for her. I chose to make a root vegetable hamin with asado or short ribs and goose drumsticks. This recipe does not contain the dreaded bean nor the much loved slowed eggs that I also loathe. I started by browning the meat and the vegetables in a large frying pan and then did the next stage of cooking in a large soup pot, and only after that moved all the ingredients to a very large clay pot, but if you have a large enough Dutch oven or Pojke, then you can just do the whole job in that one pot. You should cook this for about 20 hours, including the one hour it cooks on the stove top.

Since I never prepare a heavy Shabbat lunch, I decided to make this Thursday night and serve it for Shabbat dinner. It is a bit unconventional, but it worked for us. This hamin is delicious and I have been converted. I am going to wait a few weeks, but I would like to try another hamin. I see an Iraqi Tabit in our future or maybe one with pitim or maybe one with pasta……

Don’t plan any activities after lunch because you will probably be too heavy and bloated to even move from the table.

Printable recipe here

Root Vegetable Hamin made in a Clay Pot
Adapted from a recipe in Hamin by Sherry Ansky
Serves: 6-8

2 kilos (4lbs) veal or lamb osso buco (I used short ribs)
1 kilo goose drumsticks
10 whole shallots, peeled
2 heads of garlic, unpeeled, cut in half
3 to 4 celery stalks, chopped
2 celery roots
2 parsley roots
4 to 6 small turnips
1/2 (1lb) kilo Jerusalem artichokes
1 teaspoon whole black peppercorns
1/2 to 1 teaspoon cayenne
1 tablespoon sweet Hungarian paprika
2 -3 bay leaves
3 sprigs fresh thyme
2-3 fresh sage leaves
2 sprigs rosemary
3 medium tomatoes chopped or 250g crushed tomatoes
1 tablespoon tomato paste
6 to 7 potatoes, peeled and cut in half
2-3 small sweet potatoes (optional, instead of some of the potatoes), peeled and cut into thick slices
Water to cover

Peel and cut the turnips, celery root, parsley root and Jerusalem artichokes into large cubes. Place the root vegetables and celery in a bowl and set aside.

Place 1 tablespoon of oil in a large Dutch oven on medium-high heat. Brown the meat and goose drumsticks, in batches, on all sides, and set aside in a bowl.

Add 2-3 more tablespoons of oil, reduce the heat to medium and saute the whole shallots for 3-4 minutes. Add all of the root vegetables except for the potatoes. Stir occasionally with a wooden spoon to ensure that the vegetables do not stick to the bottom of the pot. Add the paprika, cayenne, black peppercorns, chopped tomatoes and tomato paste and stir a little more.

Then return all of the meat to the pot and stir everything together. Pour on enough boiling water to just cover all of the ingredients and add the thyme, bay leaf, sage, and rosemary. Reduce the temperature to a simmer and cook for one hour. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Preheat the oven to 90-100C (195 – 212F).

Add the potatoes and garlic, add a little more salt to taste, cover the pot tightly and put it in the oven until lunchtime the following day.

Sounds great! I’ll have to try it this coming Shabbos, though I’ll use a slow cooker or crockpot (on low heat) rather than the oven. When I make my own recipe I use flanken meat, pastrami, kishka and add a bar of Yemenite jachnun to the beans (which I soak in water for, at least, 8 hours), Vidalia onions, potatoes, garlic and tomato sauce with lots of spices.

CS

13
Apr
10

Israeli Food Blogs – Part 1


I constantly look at blogs from around the world for interesting recipes. Why blogs? Because not only renowned chefs can make memorable dishes. Imagination, love of food and talent in combining the right ingredients are what is important. Israel, as the melting pot of Jewish cultures from all over the planet, has many sites dedicated to ethnic food for every taste. Today I will look at three blogs, I read religiously. The writing and the photography are quite good, the recipes at times unusual, the results always delectable!

These blogs give descriptions of places, of life, of people and recipes. They reveal at least as much about the bloggers as they do about each post’s subject.

From Sarah Melamed‘s Food Bridge:

[All photos in this post are the property of Food Bridge.]

The Cook from Agrippas Street

by Sarah on April 12, 2010

agrippas street, Jerusalem

It is on this street in Jerusalem, lined with shops, alleyways and cafes, that Aviva Ben Yoseph, was born and raised in the early years of Israel.  Her cookbook is not only a wonderful compendium of her mother’s Sephardic recipes but a tribute to her and glimpse of a culture that has all but vanished with time. The author recreates the smells and flavors emanating from her mother’s tiny kitchen and the bustle and noise from the nearby Mahane Yehuda shuk, with the help of photographs depicting life years ago and of Agrippas street and the shuk as they are now.

Mahane yehuda, Jerusalem

mahane yehuda, Jerusalem

Her recipes are an amalgam of Middle Eastern and Sephardic cooking, some of them handed down from mother to daughter, other recipes perhaps influenced by neighbors and friends.  The wandering Jews of the Middle East had a propensity to travel more than their Arab compatriots often searching for a safe haven or better economical conditions. It is for this reason that many Jewish recipes reflect their travels and deviate from the standard. In Aviva’s cookbook there are kubba recipes from Iraq, Syrian style stuffed onion and cheesy Turkish bureks.

Meatballs with bulgur

Meatballs with Bulgur

This is a recipe from Aviva’s book and an easy way to incorporate bulgur into dishes besides the ubiquitous tabouleh and fried kibbeh. Although this is a Turkish influenced recipe, the addition of coriander is definitely not Turkish as it is an herb rarely seen in Turkish cuisine and very difficult to obtain there.

500 grams [1.1 lb] ground beef or lamb

1/2 cup fine bulgur

1 onion, coarsely grated

1 cup chopped parsley

1 cup chopped coriander

2 eggs

1 tablespoon flour

1/4 teaspoon black pepper, or to taste

1/4 teaspoon hot paprika

1 teaspoon salt

Wash the bulgur and let stand for 10 minutes.

Combine all the ingredients and mix well.

With your hands create flat meatballs and fry in enough oil so it comes half way up the meatball. Fry on one side and then the other. Serve with fresh tomato and cucumber salad.

*Agrippas Street is named after the grandson of Herod the Great, the brutal King of the Jews who had a penchant for killing his wives and living an extravagant lifestyle (somewhat like Henry VIII of England), relics of which can be seen in his palace in Masada. His grandson Agrippas inherited his excessive spending habit and fled Rome to escape his debt, later to become the King of Judea. His image and namesake is preserved on ancient coins and two thousand years later, it is the main thoroughfare  to reach the Mahane Yehuda shuk in Jerusalem, the biggest shopping area in the city. I think Agrippas would have liked that.

Not only does Mrs. Melamed’s writing and photos bring the sights, the sounds and the smells of Rechov Agrippas to life – even from a afar – but they fill the reader with a strong appetite for the particular recipe.

While living in Israel, I often walked through the alleyways of Jerusalem; I’ve been on Rechov Agrippas and the above post brought back some great memories. Good food, good memories… can anyone ask for more?

CS

11
Apr
10

The Proper Way to Die


[On April 16, 2007, I posted what follows here. Today being Holocaust Day I thought it appropriate to repost it on The Kosher Scene. CS.]

In a world where there are Holocaust deniers, where European cities (in deference to Muslims living there) have decided to do away with Holocaust commemorations, in a world where schools in the UK find it expedient (in the interest of a misguided, pernicious, “Political Correctness”) to ignore important historical facts (such as the Holocaust), I thought I should tell a simple story today Yom Hasho’a – the day that commemorates the Holocaust.

There are 6,000,000 stories of those that died, I cannot tell them all! Many of these are known, some (most, like their protagonists and their families) have totally vanished from the human mind, from any surviving record. Some are stories of unbelievable strength, others are more mundane but all unequivocally show an unconquerable spirit. A spirit that no Nazi power could break, no enemy before, no enemy after can destroy.

Nazi German extermination camps in occupied Poland (marked with black and white skulls)

This is the Story of Rabbi Zvi Michelson, one of Warsaw’s oldest rabbi’s who at the age of 79, became just another of the 700,000 Jews killed in the death camps of Treblinka.

Early in 1942 the Germans first began their systematic raids in the Warsaw ghetto, snatching Jewish men, women and children from the warrens in which they had been “resettled” and transporting them to the extermination camps.

In the very first of these raids, the Germans aided by Ukrainian soldiers surrounded the house in which Rabbi Michelson lived, shouting through the megaphones that all those inside were to come out into the courtyard. All the Jews in the building obeyed the German command – except for Rabbi Michelson, who refused to budge. Those who would remain in their rooms, he reasoned, would soon be routed out by the German soldiers. Their travail would not last long; they would be gunned down on the spot, and their bodies would be flung into the street. There, chances were that other Jews would find them, pile them upon the carts that creaked through the ghetto alleys to collect the dead and bury them in accordance with Jewish law. Those who would go to the Germans in the courtyard, on the other hand, would be loaded by the storm troopers onto trucks and taken to the death camps. There they would die, too, but not without suffering. Even worse, from what the rabbi had heard, they would not be buried at all but cremated, in violation of the Torah. And so Rabbi Michelson prepared himself to meet death as he felt befitted a man of age and tradition. He put on his phylacteries, draped his tallith (prayer shawl) around his spare body, bolted the door of his room and waited for the Germans to come.

But things did not happen the way the rabbi had expected. Yes, the Germans, accompanied by a Jewish ghetto policeman, kicked open the door and burst into Rabbi Michelson’s room. But when the storm troopers saw the old man with the long flowing white beard standing upright before them, stern of countenance and draped from shoulders to feet in his snowy-white, silver -bordered prayer robe, they were immobilized by awe, indeed by a fear, such as they probably never knew before. Years later, the ghetto policeman, who survived the war, was to tell the end of the story. “Why, it is Moses himself!” the policeman heard one of the Germans mutter. With that, the German silently turned and led the others out of the room, slamming the door and leaving Rabbi Michelson untouched.

Alone in his little room, the rabbi could hear the babble of the crowd in the courtyard below, mingled with the raucous shouts of the German soldiers. From his tiny window, he could see the others from his house being shoved into onto huge German army trucks. And a thought far more frightening than death came to Rabbi Michelson. True, he had been granted a a miraculous reprieve. But for how long? When the Germans would recover from their surprise, they would return and shoot him. That is how he would die, and he would die alone. In effect, by refusing to leave his room he had run away like a coward; he had deserted his brethren. Which, he asked himself, was the proper alternative – to die alone, with the chance that he alone might be found by some survivors outside and be given proper burial, or go out to his brethren and be with them on their last journey? Which was the proper way to die?

It did not take Rabbi Michelson more than a moment to make his decision. He turned from the window, adjusted his tallith, and strode from the room. With firm steps, he descended the stairs and marched out into the courtyard. There he joined the others on their way to the Umschlagplatz, the assembly point from where they all were to be taken to Treblinka. He remained a source of comfort and inspiration to his brethren, and when the end came, he shared their fate. He is among the millions who have no graves, but he has a lasting memorial in the annals of valor and uprightness.

(from The Unconquerable Spirit – by Simon Zucker and Gertrude Hirschler)

Being the son of Holocaust survivors (the younger sibling of a brother I never got to meet, killed at age 3 for the heinous crime of having been born a Jew), I’ve heard hundreds of stories of unbearable horrors and indescribable courage, stories that show the greatness and the baseness of human beings, stories that reveal deep character flaws and hidden jewels but… neither can I retell them all here nor would you, gentle reader, bear to read them all. Therefore I chose one story to stand as a monument to all the known ones and all those that shall forever remain buried… like the people who lived them…

CS

09
Apr
10

Lévana’s Recipe


[Lévana Kirschenbaum, the power behind Lévana's, the restaurant that pioneered the kosher gastronomic experience paired with wines dry and sweet in New York City, is author of two superb cookbooks:  Levana's Table, Levana Cooks Dairy Free! and a Book/DVD set, based on her cooking classes: In Short Order. I'm a chocaholic and when I saw this recipe on her website, I just had to quote it here! CS.]

Chocolate Espresso Mousse

Posted on April 9th, 2010 by Lévana

This will take you about five minutes to prepare, and will knock your socks (and your guests’!) off. And although it tastes sinfully rich, it contains no eggs and no cream. So what’s the secret? The best chocolate, that’s what: Start with real chocolate (no brand affectionately called “heimish”) brand: They contain a smidgen of chocolate and loads of sugar: Who needs it? Get a good brand, even a price club brand will do. I assure you that if enough of you customers will ask your kosher supermarket to carry some good chocolate products, they will be happy to oblige! So, use good ingredients, and taste the difference!

Ingredients:

1 cup semisweet chocolate chips (or grated semisweet chocolate), only the best
2 tablespoons
instant coffee powder
1/4 cup water
2/3 cup pure cocoa powder
1/4 cup vegetable oil
2 tablespoon brandy or rum (unflavored please)
1 pound silken tofu, drained

Instructions:

In a small saucepan, on a very low flame, place all but last ingredient, and cook, stirring, until melted. This will take about 2-3 minutes (Or microwave 2 minutes). Transfer the mixture to a food processor, with the tofu, and process one full minute, until perfectly smooth. Pour the mixture into 6 to 8 dessert glasses or cups, and refrigerate until firm, 2-3 hours.

Enjoy, my mouth is watering already!!!

CS

08
Apr
10

Upcoming Wine Tasting


Israeli Wine Lovers Club

What: Rooted in the Lower Galil – Tabor Winery

When: Thursday, April 22, 2010 7:00 PM

Where: Quint, Miller & Co.
34 West 38th Street (between 5th & 6th Ave.) 6th Floor
New York, NY 10001

Price: $36.00 per person

We enjoyed the Tabor tasting, that took place a few months ago, so much that we asked Tal to come back and present new and exciting Tabor wines as well as educate us further regarding the influence of soil on the grapes…..

The Tabor Winery owes it roots to baron Edmond de Rothschild (the owner of Chateau Lafitte) who established 2 wineries in Israel at the end of the 19th century. Baron de Rothschild established a village called Kfar Tabor, near mount Tabor in the lower Galil, and planted vineyards to source grapes for the new wineries. In 1999 four local grape growing families established the Tabor winery not far from these vineyards. The grapes grow on 4 different types of soil and we will examine the impact of each on the wines produced — the essence of Terroir…

Sit back and relax; join with other wine lovers at the Israeli Wine of the Month Club’s interactive wine tasting experience.

What is interactive wine tasting?

* Nine wonderful Israeli wines will be explored. Cheese, crackers and fruit also served.
* A panel of our Sommeliers/Wine Critics will describe each wine and guide you in exercising your palate tasting them
* You will be encouraged to voice your opinion about each wine and write elaborate notes — be Robert Parker, Tom Stevenson or Daniel Rogov for a night…
* We will collect everyone’s tasting notes and distribute them via a newsletter. The newsletter will also include professional tasting notes as well as detailed descriptions of the wineries, and more…

What: Rooted in the Lower Galil – Tabor Winery

When: Thursday, April 22, 2010 7:00 PM

Where: Quint, Miller & Co.
34 West 38th Street (between 5th & 6th Ave.) 6th Floor
New York, NY 10001
The buzzer on the ground floor, # 6

Price: $36.00 per person

RSVP by April 21, 2010 (space is limited)

Learn more here:
http://www.meetup.com/Israeli-Wine-Lovers/calendar/13120707/

Avi Ashman




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